Note: As Google Earth takes world leaders at the Copenhagen Climate Summit on a virtual flyover of Coal River Mountain today, besieged residents and citizens groups from Coal River Mountain and across West Virginia and the Appalachian coalfields, along with their national allies, held a 2 pm EST rally at the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection in Charleston, W.Va., calling for an immediate halt to the reckless mountaintop removal blasting on Coal River Mountain. Speakers will included coalfield residents, along with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Head-On Radio host Bob Kincaid, who is also a resident in the Appalachian coalfields, streamed live at by 2:30 pm EST–you can listen to excepts here:
Live from Copenhagen, USA — the carbon sink of the nation, the crossroads for a clean energy future, the Appalachian coalfields.
Here’s the scene:
An inspiring range of hardwood forests in the carbon sink of Appalachia, adorned by wind turbines capable of providing energy for thousands of households, millions of dollars in tax revenues, and hundreds of long-term jobs that could also create a sustainable manufacturing sector, surrounded by historic settlements — or, a devastating 6,600-acre mountaintop removal operation, a limited number of short-term jobs and the life-threatening endangerment of blasting near the weakened Class “C” Brushy Fork coal slurry impoundment.
World leaders will ask: In the exploding market of clean-energy jobs and investment, how could any governor disregard sustainable economic initiatives and allow his own citizens to live in a state of fear of blasting, fly rock, and a potential catastrophe from an impoundment break?
“Unless there is a tragedy such as these, nothing happens,” W.Va. Gov. Joe Manchin declared on the anniversary of the Farmington mining disaster last year. “Why does human nature wait until we have such catastrophic tragedies?” Good question, Gov. Manchin — what about the mountaintop removal crisis on Coal River Mountain, and the Brushy Fork coal slurry impoundment?
As U.S. Marine veteran and area resident Bo Webb has stated repeatedly, the Coal River Mountain area has reached a state of a national securty threat. Starting at 2 pm EST, Head-On Radio host Bob Kincaid is streaming “Live from at Copenhagen, U.S.A.” — the heart of the Appalachian coalfields. Go to http://headonradionetwork.com/ and click on Listen Live. Here’s Kincaid’s look at the day’s events:
On Monday, Dec. 7, sixty-eight years to the day after what Franklin Roosevelt called “a day that will live in infamy,” hundreds of Americans will gather outside the Headquarters of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection in Charleston, W. Va.
At 2 pm EST, we, too, will renew our ongoing opposition to another infamy, the horror of mountaintop removal as practiced all across Appalachia, and especially on the people of the Coal River Valley of West Virginia, and particularly upon Coal River Mountain, the very intersection of corporate disdain and governmental negligence.
The infamy that is Mountaintop Removal has already destroyed a thousand miles of streams, flattened five hundred of the oldest mountains on the planet, and poisoned countless communities and lives in the region. The infamy that is Mountaintop Removal subjects Appalachian communities to 3 million pounds of high explosives per day. That constitutes the explosive force of Dec. 7, 1941 almost every hour of every day throughout West Virginia. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is the textbook definition of a failed agency.
We will call global attention to the WVDEP’s utter disregard for the lives of families and communities in the Coal River Valley, where blasting is ongoing in direct proximity to the Brushy Fork Impoundment, a fragile earthen dam that holds back billions of gallons of toxic waste sufficient to erase all life from that region. The blasting at Brushy Fork is in conjunction with Massey Energy’s determined attempt to eliminate the possibility of a windmill farm on top of Coal River Mountain, a wind farm that would serve as a beacon of light in the seemingly endless night of Mountaintop Removal’s ongoing onslaught in Appalachia.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has the power to stop the destruction of Coal River Mountain, but has steadfastly refused to act. We, in our hundreds, will demand that the WVDEP finally fulfill its obligation as servants of the public instead of taking their usual place as bootlicks to the companies that are quickly making West Virginia an unfit place to live.
Come to West Virginia! Come to Charleston. Join us if you can. If you cannot be there in person, join us at a distance. From anywhere on this imperiled planet, you can join us at the epicenter of the struggle for human rights and justice for coalfield communities. Join hundreds of human rights and environmental activists, in addition to over two dozen speakers including Bobby Kennedy Jr., as we take the next bold step forward in combating the ongoing infamy that is Mountaintop Removal in Appalachia.
Speaking of that dark day sixty-eight years ago, Franklin Roosevelt said “with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph.” So, too, we know that with the same unbounding determination passed down to us by our forebears, we can gain the triumph that will free Appalachia from Mountaintop Removal, from the infamy that threatens the very existence of an entire region of our country.
For more information, go to I Love Mountains.